“We know that we are alone. Or at least, without the support of the hierarchy that, with few exceptions, have given up before the Government. But many faithful support us and, while we can, we will resist.” This is the thesis that, in small circles, the Benedictine friars of Cuelgamuros repeat before their more than predictable departure from the Valley of the Fallen, once the Democratic Memory Law that the Executive takes to the Council of Ministers this Tuesday comes into force.
Profile – Santiago Cantera, the prior of the Valley of the Fallen who refuses to serve sentences while allowing masses for Franco
A rule that, as advanced by elDiario.es, will extinguish the Foundation of the Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caídos, managed by the community led by Santiago Cantera. A Royal Decree, framed within a negotiation that is already being carried out with the Catholic Church, will force the religious (about twenty, not counting novices, postulants or, of course, the students of the Escolanía) to leave the premises, which will pass to the control of the National Heritage for a “redefinition” of the complex.
Sources from the Executive of Pedro Sánchez consider that the continuity of the Benedictines “is incompatible with the democratic and constitutional values and with the new aims of the Valley” and that the will of the Executive so that they do not continue there is “unequivocal”. The facts, beyond the radical position of its prior, Santiago Cantera, and part of the community, during Franco’s exhumation (which was about to cost the arrest of the superior), prove the Government right. This same Sunday, the date of the coup d’état that culminated in the Civil War and 40 years of Franco’s dictatorship, the friars officiated a mass “for the Uprising” in which several dozen nostalgic people of the regime participated, who later did their particular ‘ pilgrimage ‘to the dictator’s tomb in Mingorrubio.
The temple will not be desecrated
However, the Benedictines have already announced to their intimates that they will fight, judicial and media, to prevent his departure. For this reason, the conversations that are already being held between the Ministry of the Presidency and those responsible for the Episcopal Conference and the Archdiocese of Madrid, the diocese that will have liturgical and pastoral responsibility for the temple, which will not be desecrated, are of special relevance. In this sense, it is worth highlighting the good relations between Minister Bolaños and Cardinal Osoro, who as head of the diocese has the endorsement of the Holy See to make decisions in his territory.
Both Osoro and the president of the EEC, Juan José Omella, are in favor of not entering into a political conflict, as Cantera claims, and ensuring the ecclesiastical care of the basilica. The Government, for its part, has no intention of questioning the presence of a place of worship on the premises, since its expropriation would affect, squarely, the Church-State agreements. The temple, according to different sources, could be entrusted to the Community of Sant’Egidio, a movement specialized in interreligious dialogue and international conflict resolution, which could collaborate in developing a vision of the monument more in line with reality.
Once the fate of the basilica has been clarified, it will not be difficult to reach an agreement, according to sources familiar with the intentions of both parties have pointed out to elDiario.es. Where there may be a serious problem, and Minister Félix Bolaños knows it from direct experience (the friars continually skipped what was agreed on the day of the exhumation of the dictator), is in the attitude of the Benedictines, who assure actively and passively that they will only leave the Abbey with a direct order from Pope Francis. The Holy See, which on numerous occasions has reiterated that this is an issue that concerns the local Church (Madrid-Osoro), and not Rome, could grant a special permit, initialed by the Secretary of State, to order Cantera to leave The abbey. Possible destination? The place from which, in 1958, the first Benedictines left for Cuelgamuros: the Abbey of Silos. For all, except for Cantera himself, whose stubbornness could lead him to another destiny or, even if he persisted in disobedience to Rome, to exclaustration.
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